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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:08 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 145
Hi Anon,

I just wanted to offer my congratulations on doing so well on your trip, I can see that this was a big deal for you and you were able to put the action plans into play. Of course there are lessons to learn and grow from which you have identified but don't let that detract from what you have achieved. You should be proud of yourself and know that you are more than capable of managing your emotions when away on future business trips.


"If you ever doubt the lie of excitement that anticipates an urge and wonder if it will be worth it, remember that there is a very good reason that you joined Recovery Nation"

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:32 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 90

Don't know if you believe in God/Universe/Bhudda/signs, but just want to let you know that again the Universe is speaking through you to me. Just last night my wife asked me about my reflections on my trip. I unfortunately tapped into the negative, "I did well in sticking to my action plans, but..."

Thank you for your reminder to show pride in my achievements. I am slowly learning to see the positive and allow my capacity to shine through. Similar to how "coming clean" to my wife about my urges often brings shame instead of pride for showing honesty. For some reason, it still doesn't feel "good" to show progress. Perhaps because I'm so used to instant gratification? So used to the highs of artificial emotion/life management? I feel shame for having to think this hard about acting morally. But as my wife has said to me in the past, "shame thoughts are wasted energy on things that do not serve you."

I guess my other concern of owning my achievements is that I also fear getting too cocky... getting too comfortable... I fear relapse. But only because I'm beginning to value my recovery. So thank you for your encouragement and highlighting my progress.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:35 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 90
1. In relation to your general mental health, summarize your progression/regression over the past thirty days:
Regressions: Borderline Traits coming through in addition to my acts of self preservation. In particular, regressions include my lying to my wife about my past, all or nothing thinking when facing arguments, and allowing brief fantasies/dreams of K. My brain has been resorting to dissociation in the face of discomfort or pain. I find myself having occasional thoughts of fantasy (past or ruminating on dreams). There have been some times where I let them go longer instead of creating a break. I literally see and feel the emotional stimulation it provides me. But I cannot un-know my circumstances of being a love addict, so I break and move forward. Regardless, this behavior is risky. Other regressions revolve around complacency or allowing myself to become distracted during podcasts/my ritual.
Progressions: Creating a ritual of morning spiritual practice and evening reflection. Becoming more enlightened through self discovery via podcasts, RN, journaling, conversations with wife, and therapy. Examining emotions as an observer. Becoming more mindful of my reactivity (borderline traits). Setting intentions and meeting them. Beginning to feel more comfortable with my self affirmations and exploring self compassion.

2. Document your experiences with the following:
Fantasy: When I’m fatigued/hungry/stressed I notice the frequency of these thoughts increase and my threshold/energy/effort to create breaks decreases. To put a number on it, I’d say the fantasy thoughts a maximum of 1-2 times daily. The thoughts are a maximum of 6 seconds before I create a break.
Using the scale below, rate the positive impact that your recovery efforts over the past thirty days have had on your:
(1-No effect 2-Slight 3-Moderate 4-Considerable 5-Extreme)

Family 5
Friends 1
Co-Workers 2
Career 4
Finances 1
Romantic Relationships 5
Self-Esteem 3
Stress Level 3
Time Management 3
Hobbies 3
4. Using the scale below, rate the negative impact that your sexual and/or romantic behaviors over the past thirty days have had on your:
(1-No effect 2-Slight 3-Moderate 4-Considerable 5-Extreme)

Family 3
Friends 1
Co-Workers 1
Career 3
Finances 1
Romantic Relationships 5
Self-Esteem 4
Stress Level 4
Time Management 3
Hobbies 3

5) Summarize the progress made towards your existing recovery and life goals over the past thirty days:
Earlier in my recovery, I would have capitalized on the fantasies/dreams I had about K. I would have ruminated on them longer and allowed them to fester and grow. Although challenging, I’ve been creating breaks and choosing not to continue the fantasies. My self-judgement is still very high when these thoughts pop into my brain, but my most recent discussion with my therapist on the ‘normalcy’ of these thoughts considering my addiction and mental health diagnoses (especially at this early stage of my recovery) allows me to build acceptance instead of self-hatred. Over the past 30 days, I’ve made considerable efforts around building my spiritual practice: 5 minute meditation, intention setting, self affirmations in the mirror, ending with a prayer of gratitude. Most recently, in the evenings I’ve returned to a daily monitoring.
6) Describe the closest you came to a slip/relapse over the past month:
Slip occurred during event where I was confronted about my actions/behaviors surrounding a social media contact. I blatantly lied about the event to my wife and even manipulated her into feeling guilty for her treatment of me. It was a full blown slip into addiction behavior of living two lives—trying to cover my tracks and live clean “in the now.” I feared how the discussion would lead into further questions regarding my most recent affair (which would DUH lead to absolute honesty). Absolute honest came out anyway in disclosing omissions by accident.
7) List the most likely relapse triggers you will face in the coming month:
Any conversations that I perceive as “tough”. Shame, self judgment. Social interactions with alcohol. Complacency. Past memories or run-ins with targets. Borderline traits overtaking my thinking. Urges to pursue self preservation instead of my true core identity values. Overall, healthy stress management is key. With it, I’ll have more energy to deflect dissociation and face my fears.
8) Approximate (in percentages) the amount of time over the past month that you have spent:
Engaged in value based activity (top three) 15%
Engaged in value based activity (top ten) 15%
Engaged in emotion based, uneahtly activity 10% (reactivity in conversations)
Life maintenance chores 17%
With family (quality) 15%
With friends (quality) 2%
Alone (quality) 8%
Engaged in unhealthy sexual behavior .05% (sexual anorexia)
Engaged in unhealthy romantic behavior .05% (fantasy/thoughts)
Self improvement/ recovery 15%
9) Overall, how would you rate your emotional state over the past thirty days:
At it’s healthiest: close to healthy
At it’s unhealthiest: very unhealthy
Overall: close to healthy

 Post subject: weekly monitoring
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:00 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 90

Weekly monitoring:
Over the past seven days, in what ways was I responsible for the energy that I brought to daily tasks/events/interactions?

I was responsible for the energy that I brought to my business trip. I went in with a plan, handled urges and temptation, and came clean about my urges and struggles to my wife. I resumed my daily intentions upon recognizing I fell off track. I was responsible for the interactions I had with my wife when my borderline traits began to peak—I asked for some time to reflect and respond to her in the AM about her points instead of reacting. I know that she often views this as me running from my problems, but I really feel like I’m able to communicated better if I can sleep on it. I’ll discuss this in further detail with her.

Given the events I had to manage — how well did I do in maintaining emotional balance through healthy means? Were there times when my life management skills were inadequate and I ended up turning to artificial means? Overall, I did a satisfactory job handling my emotions in regards to my trip. The past three days, upon having triggering conversations about intimacy and my recovery progress, my borderline traits went pretty out of control. I recognized the warning signs (ears burning, reactivity, anger feeling alone) and asked to have time to respond later. For now, I feel this is the appropriate response until I begin to build the skills necessary to bring myself out of the emotional/reactive trance of my borderline traits. I turned to artificial means of life management via dissociation, feeding off of the positive feedback from my trip, saying shocking things for a rise out of people, and escaping reality via some of my chores/hobbies.

In the past seven days, how did I initiate emotional or physical intimacy with my wife?
I intiated emotional intimacy with conversations regarding my work on RN, discussion with my therapist, reflections on podcasts, and reflections of my trip. Although minimal, I’ve been reaching out to her for physical connection via cuddling, hugs, loving touch… But that’s the extent of it…

In the next seven days, what will interfere with initiation of physical intimacy with my wife? When and how will I address these? Can I sit with them? Will I tell her? What will interefere? Me, my fears, and me searching for negative things to justify not having sex. Ie, believe I’m damaged goods, searching for reasons that I’m damaged, searching for reasons that I’m unable to have sex. My perceived “obligation” to have sex and “lack of need/want” to have sex is just that—a perception. It’s something I search for. I will address this barrier by searching for the benefits of and visualizing the outcome: not orgasm or fulfilling my wife’s need/ultimatum, but true connection. I can sit with this discomfort. I can tell her my concerns, but also tell her how I plan to move forward.

My body deserves respect via healthy choices. What specifically will I focus on to contribute to a healthy body? Who can help me stay accountable? I will focus on continuing to limit my alcohol—I really DO NOT feel great the morning after (even if it’s ‘just one’). I get reactive and loose. Is it really worth it? Do I really need it? It’s just another artificial means of emotion regulation….

In the past seven days, how could I have been more loving? Compassionate? Empathetic? Connected? Mature? Responsible? Creative? Kind? Joyful?
“Don’t make yourself alone, because you’re not” says my wife in the midst of a borderline episode. I can be connected if I allow myself. I can be connected if I let myself love me. I can be connected if I let her love me. To believe that “I just want to be alone” is just falling for a falsehood! I can absolutely be more connected if I reach out to her. In the midst of depression/anxiety/borderline I don’t feel like I need/want to be reach out to her. Why? To make myself believe that I’m alone? Don’t make yourself alone, Anon, because you’re not.

Looking ahead to the next seven days, what might interfere with my ability to stay true to my values, goals, and practice? What boundaries need to be in place so that I may continue to make healthy choices? How will I communicate these boundaries? I think my stress management is what will interfere the most—because it lowers my threshold for everything else. If my stress is high, it kind of works as a blinder to what’s real. I get caught up in the trance of stress and lose touch with my direction. Boundaries that will help with my stress are keeping organized and prioritizing my work, choosing NOT to escape reality via dissociation (in any form, ie my fish tank hobby or physical dissociation from my body), choosing to put reactivity aside, and choosing to reach out for connection instead (HARDEST PART for me).

Looking ahead at the next seven days, how do I plan to reach out for additional support in my family/community/work? I’m pretty swamped at work. Not agreeing to every opportunity that is given to me will be very important in not only preventing burnout, but also in managing my stress level. If I need help at work, then I’ll need to mention it. Doing so will allow my threshold for other stress will increase: I’ll be able to have longer in depth conversations with the wife, be more present in therapy, and have more patience for my children.

 Post subject: Lesson 50
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:48 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 90
Lesson 50 Exercise:
Once you have applied effective urge control — once you have identified the emotional elements of a compulsive urge, isolated the element that exists just prior to the 'point of no return' and put yourself in a position to make a rational decision in what was once a compulsive moment — the next step is to make the decision and accept the consequences for whatever decision you make.

A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)
Positive: Aligned with values and my true self/core identify. Doing different behavior than my past patterns. Showing progress. Putting others needs ahead of my wants. Acting as I’d want my children to. Having my actions match my words.

Negative: Not having the instant gratification or emotional boost/stimulation. Feeling boring or prude. Feeling censored/caged and dare I say not aligned with my “self”

B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual, what consequences do you anticipate? (again, think positive and negative).

Positive: Perception that pain discomfort avoided. Instant gratification of temporary emotional boost. A small high that I perceive validates my existence, makes me feel accepted by someone/thing, creates excitement—these are all false ways of achieving my values (connection and joy).

Negative: Pain and discomfort created: guilt and shame. Once again putting my wants ahead of others. Becoming my mother. Boost/high doesn’t last, I crave more, habituation and intensity filters occur to increase stimulation. More compulsive behavior ensues. Cycle continues.

C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?

Values-based decision long term effects: Keeping my marriage, keeping my children, staying true to myself, directly contributing to my values, creating a refined identity, achieving my utmost potential (and therefore more able to experience joy and happiness), increasing my ability to make an impact, increase my self-acceptance, remove self-judgement and shame by reinforcing positive behaviors, improve positive self-talk and love, prove my worthiness of my acheivements.

Emotion-based decision long term effects: People are not able to ‘selectively numb’ their emotions—if I numb the feelings of pain and discomfort through emotion based decisions I also eliminate my ability to feel true joy or happiness. Emotion based decisions puts everything I’ve worked for at risk. There are no long term benefits—just short term satisfaction coupled with long-term negative consequences. Emotion based decisions lead me to feeding my addiction. Long-term consequences, destroying everyone and everything in my path. I’ll become my mother, a hurricane of chaos full of hardship and loneliness. It will lead to my eventual death and continuation of addicition/poor behaviors in my children. The pattern will not end. I will have not answered my calling. I will have failed.

D. Document your thoughts in your recovery manager.

“In the coming lessons, decision-making in a compulsive environment will be developed through five stages. First, by identifying the options available to you. Second, filtering those options through your existing values/boundaries. Third, intellectually anticipating the consequences of those remaining options. Fourth, making the actual decision on which action to take. And, finally, internalizing the consequences of that action.”

What holds me back? Fear, shame and guilt around my current ability to make sound decisions. Self-judgment for not having healthy decision making skills to begin with. And here we are, Lesson 50, developing healthy decision making. The above quote makes it so simple. Because it is. And it will be, but it takes practice. I have the ability to practice a skill: instruments, athletics, my career. I get better, have OK days and better days. I have to accept that I won’t be recovered tomorrow and change my expectations. I will recover with practice. But the effort, commitment and vulnerability must be there. I need to be willing to lean into the discomfort and pain. My addiction’s sole purpose was to avoid discomfort and pain—in order to recover I must face it. I’m terrified. And that fear is what stalls my recovery. Every. Damn. Time.

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